An estimated 26.9 million lambs were tailed, up 1.9m on last year. Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) said that the increase was due to more ewes being mated and improvements in sheep condition resulting from “favourable feed conditions”.
“The average lambing percentage across the country was 123 lambs born per hundred ewes – up from 119 in 2011,” said B+LNZ Economic Service executive director Rob Davison. “There were pockets of unfavourable weather in some areas during lambing, but farm management practices ensured good lamb survival.”
The increase in lamb production means there will be 20.5 million lambs available for processing in the 2012-13 season, up 8.4% from last year, which saw the lowest numbers since 1960. However, B+LNZ said that a return to “normal climatic conditions” meant average carcase weights were expected to decrease by 2.1%, slightly offsetting the increase in slaughter.